NASA requesting Stardust reentry observations

From: Jim Albers (
Date: Tue Dec 27 2005 - 03:24:41 EST

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    I've been observing satellites and launches for a number of years and was recently asked to help with getting information out to the public and amateur observers about the Stardust reentry, which will occur early in the morning of Jan 15 and be visible in the Northwestern US. There were a couple of posts to Seesat a few days ago, but no direct reference to our page. 
    NASA and the SETI Institute are sending a DC-8 aircraft with a varietyof instruments to observe the reentry in a number of wavelengths to compare heatshield performance and environment against predictions, and study how the ablative material interacts with the atmoshphere to help understand how organic compounds may have been delivered to Earth.
    However, there are certain data that can only be obtained by observations from various geographic locations, such as brightness variation with changing geometry to determine temperature distribution across the heatshield, and observing the reentry with the Moon as a backlight to study development of the hot wake behind the vehicle. More details of  the reentry and observations requested, including a Skymap trajectory file, are at the following page. The Moon transit info will be more complete in the next day or so.
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